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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000413.txt from 2003/10

From: "Lelia Loban" <>
Subj: [kl] cocabolo wood
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2003 21:40:38 -0400

Howard Klug wrote,
>Luis Rossi made me a lovely cocobolo Bb (polycylindrical bore)
>about three years ago. His workers complained at the time about
>the danger of the particles in the air and that they didn't want to
>make any more of these instruments. Luis doubts that he will make
>any of these instruments again because of these health concerns.
>I believe that some people can also have skin reactions to the
>cocobolo wood (I don't).

The problem does seem to be with the dust rather than the finished product.
I’ve played a cocobolo recorder for years without any problems; and my
husband sometimes uses a cocobolo walking stick that he made himself.
However, while he was making this stick, several other sticks and some
fountain pens out of cocobolo, he developed the allergy, within just a few
sessions with the saw, lathe and sander. His face and neck swelled, he got
flu-like symptoms and he broke out in a severe rash, similar to a poison
ivy rash, on his face, hands and arms -- everywhere the dust had touched.
This mess took weeks to heal. His doctor warned him never to work in
cocobolo again.

Unconvinced, he did try it again, this time while wearing a dust mask,
goggles and gloves. Within hours, he had the flu symptoms again and every
bit of skin not covered broke out. By morning, he was having trouble
breathing, and had developed a rash from head to foot: a serious, systemic
allergic reaction that required treatment with steroids to get it under
control. He can still use his walking sticks and fountain pens, but I
don’t think he’ll ever cut into a billet of cocobolo again.

Lelia Loban]
Web site (originals music scores as audio or print-out)

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